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Bluetooth is here at last

We have seen the future and it (almost) works

Ericsson, after some rumoured recent nasty moments over incompatible software that meant whole batches of headsets were delayed, has started to bung out its fabled Bluetooth headsets and mobile phones.

PC Advisor has had in its grubby geeky mitts both GN Netcom's Bluetooth headset for office landline phones and Ericsson's Bluetooth headset and they both work.

This is significant because for nearly two years the IT industry has been waiting anxiously for a company to make and make work a Bluetooth headset for mobiles, and we'd almost given up hope.

Bluetooth is a radio connectivity standard that allows electronic devices to communicate wirelessly without resorting to mobile phone technology. It can also carry voice.

Will Head, deputy reviews editor at PC Advisor, thinks we are finally seeing a glimpse of a real, rather than imaginary future.

"Although it is expensive and there are slight interoperability issues, the concept has been proven and it’s great to finally see it out of the labs and in the real world," said Head.

Interoperability at its purest is the ability for devices to speak to each other seamlessly. The Bluetooth devices tested by PC Advisor, GN Netcom's GN 9000 and Ericsson's HBH-10 Headset and DBA-10 phone attachment, don’t speak to each other even though they should. But this should be a teething problem only.

"Since its inception, Bluetooth has promised to simplify and standardise the process of connecting different devices together. Not only does it do this, but it also removes the need to carry cables with you," explains Head.

"As Bluetooth uses radio waves rather than infrared, it doesn’t require line of sight for a connection to be established so you could, for example, have your mobile in your pocket and be surfing the web on your palmtop."

While widespread adoption is still probably a year away or more, PC Advisor has it from industry sources that mobile phones companies are committed to building Bluetooth.

Headsets are now available in stores such as Carphone Warehouse, for around £299.99.

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